Mrs. Ira Pilate's Dream

Ezra Azra

© Copyright 2022 by Ezra Azra

Image by Dorothée QUENNESSON from Pixabay
Image by Dorothée QUENNESSON from Pixabay 

"And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves." Luke 23:12. KJB.

Pontius Pilate, Roman Governor of Palestine, and his wife, Ira, were having breakfast.

"Pontius, we are going to have to do without certain items of food because of the public unrest. Most of the shops, and the market of farm produce, are closed in fear." "We'll survive, Ira. The unrest is temporary. A little phoney, too." "Phoney?"

"It's all centered around one man who the priests and king Herod seem to have been trying to arrest for months, if not years. Both the priests and the king seem to not want to take a firm stand against the man, now that they have him cornered." "What crime has he committed?" "I don't know, Ira. Definitely nothing against Rome, or else our Centurion would have arrested him by now. Neither the king nor the High Priest seem to have enough evidence to hold him on. They have not brought him to me, yet. I wish they do not."

"You are the Governor, appointed by Emperor Tiberius himself, Pontius. Take a stand. Just refuse to get involved. Wash your hands of the whole matter." "It's complicated tricky skullduggery politics, Ira. Believe me, I am on the lookout for the first loophole I can use, to wash my hands of the matter."

"Do you know the unfortunate man's name?" "No. All I know, so far, is that he is a Nazarite from the Province of Galilee. That's king Herod's jurisdiction. I might not get involved at all."

Ira paused in her eating, and fixed a look on her husband. He noticed. "What?"

Softly, "Galilee?" "Yes." "Pontius, I dreamt of it. Last night." "You dreamt of Galilee? Ira, do you know even where it is?" "No. I've never heard of it. When I awoke this morning, I dismissed the dream as just another inexplicable dream featuring an equally inexplicable word. But when you mentioned Galilee, I shivered. The dream popped up." "Tell me the dream."

"It was a dark and stormy night,--" Smiling, softly, teasing, "Ira?" "But it was, Pontius. A dark and very stormy night, and I was in a boat at sea with other frightened, crying women."

Resigned, and took a sip of his beverage, "All right. Where was the boat going?" "I do not know." "What kind of a boat? Row boat? Sails?" "That is why it was extra terrifying. The rain storm water was filling the boat, and there was nobody rowing; and there were no sails. We were doomed." "If it were my dream, I would have woken up at that point."

Ira, in good humour, defiantly, "All the women stood up, and, mightily fighting the storm, they walked off out of the boat and walked toward the shore." "Good for them. Just what sensible experienced sailor men would do." Triumphantly, "The boat was so far out, nobody knew where the shore was, Pontius. And those sensible women walked off on the water. On the water, husband, dear." A long pause, as Pontius recovers from surprise.

In a chastened tone, "That was good, Ira. A step in the right direction: women walking on water, in defiance of a storm, and toward the safety of the shore. Why were you terrified?"

"Because I did not join them, Pontius. Because I knew I could not walk on water. They faded away in the night, screaming at me to join them. The boat was sinking. And then, for the first time in that violent storm, lightning flashed over the boat. I saw a naked man walking on the water toward me."

Wide-eyed in pretend seriousness, "A man walking on the water, after women showed him the way? Excellent, Ira. From better to best." "He was not walking after the women, Pontius. I said he was walking towards me." "To save you, of course; the weakest of all the women." "If he was coming to save me, Pontius, he had a strange way of showing it. With one hand he was pointing at me, and in the other hand he was waving a whip at me. He was shouting at me, blaming me for sinking the boat, and regretting he was obliged to save me, anyway. Had I been a man, he berated me, he would let me go down with the boat. I woke up."

They ate in silence for a few seconds. "First, Ira, let me assure you I am eternally thankful you are not a man. Second, I am eternally thankful that saviour of yours arrived when he did. Third, Ira, that was not a dream; it was a nightmare. My guess at an explanation is that I must have mentioned to you at some time that king Herod of Galilee and I have been at odds for years. This antagonism has worsened in the last weeks. And now Herod is here in the city on Royal business. I'm expecting some shenanigans from him, against me, while he is here. Clearly, my worries have crept into you. The man with a whip is king Herod. The king is quite capable of trying to hurt me by hurting you. If you believe there is warning in your nightmare, I suggest you do not leave this home until this matter with the High Priest, the king, and I has been completely resolved."

"That is easy, Pontius. I have no plans to go anywhere." "That blame part of your nightmare is easily explained. Every year this is the season of blame among king Herod's people." "Who is blaming who?"

"It's their annual Scapegoat Leviticus festival. Their High Priest blesses a goat at the altar, blaming it for all the Nation's sins, and then releases it to take its chances in a Wilderness." "Poor goat." "Lucky Nation, because once the goat disappears in the Wilderness, everybody has been cleansed free of sins to start sinning afresh until the Scapegoat festival the next year." "Good for them."

"That's one pagan belief I vote Rome should adopt."

They ate in silence for a few seconds, enjoying the food, and each in their deep individual thought.

"I thought the general explanation of dreams is that they come out of our own experiences." "I agree." "But, Pontius, there is nothing in my dream that I have experienced. The boat. The storm at sea. Women walking on water. A man with a whip." "A nude man walking towards you."

Wickedly humorous, "Never yet in my life; not even my husband, sad to say." They laughed. She tossed a bit of cheese at him; he caught it in his mouth. The spontaneous flawless precision with which the shtick was executed by both of them in unison, was the result of their having done it many times theretofore, at the breakfast table. And elsewhere.

"I, as a Roman soldier coming up through the ranks, have experienced most if not all of your dream, Ira. Before I proposed to you, we soldiers used to win ourselves girlfriends with narratives about our battle experiences. There is enough in your dream about my experiences that can mean your dream-self is trying to help me cope. So very truly romantic." There was a silence during which they smiled tenderly at each other.

"Pontius, what started this animosity between you and the king?" "It's always been the same, Ira. Wherever we Romans conquer, the leaders of the conquered people resent us. It has been worse here in Palestine because when king Herod's father saw he would be defeated by Rome, he surrendered without a fight. Emperor Augustus Caesar allowed Herod to keep his kingdom within the Empire, the first time ever that was done in the Empire. That first king Herod showed his gratitude by making sure his Palestinian subjects did not give the Roman Governors like me, any trouble at all. But his son is beginning to play a dangerous game. Here and there, like now, he is allowing his citizens to challenge Roman authority. He is being reckless. And--." In sudden worry, Ira looked at her husband. "And what, Pontius?"

"I know why your dream-self is jumping in there, willing to take on my troubles in these particularly stressful times."

Mischievously, "You mean there is another reason after my undying love for you, husband?" "A reason that exists from long before we fell in love. I remember your telling me of how happy you and a number of other young girls were when your Village surrendered to us Romans without a fight. Do you remember?"

"Oh, yes, I remember, Pontius. Every day since then. I remember. You Romans were our saviors from an ancient tradition of marrying young girls to men two-three times their age."

There was a knock on the front door. "I'll get that." "Ira, in these times, let me. You go bring me my sword."

He stood up and turned to go to the door, while Ira hurried off out of the kitchen, through another door. He was standing at the front door when Ira brought his sword to him. He took it, and held it, point down, at his side. She hurried away. He waited for her to have left the room. He called out to whomever was at the door. "Who is it?"

"Your Excellency, a Royal messenger with an invitation from his Majesty, king Herod, requesting your Excellency attend the celebration of the Scapegoat Leviticus festival at his Majesty's table."

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